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Outsider in Naga talks

Bangkok, Dec. 16: In an unprecedented development, the logjam in the Naga peace talks is sought to be cleared through “third party mediation”. Indian negotiators are not comfortable with the term “third party mediation” and said they had only agreed to consider ideas from “some do-gooders”.

A Dutch NGO involved in conflict resolution in East Timor and Tibet is likely to make specific but informal proposals on how to move the peace process forward tomorrow.

The first open indication of outside mediation/facilitation came this evening. Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), made a surprise revelation at the end of the first formal round of talks when he said: “I believe some proposals from third parties may be expected'. The proposals will be given tomorrow to bring an understanding on some issues.”

Did this mean mediation by a third party' “We have to say it is mediation so long as both parties agree to consider the proposals,” he replied.

Although Muivah kept saying that the “third party” could be “anyone”, it is learnt that a Netherlands-based non-profit organisation called Kreddha ' International Peace Council for States, Peoples and Minorities is submitting some informal proposals.

Kreddha, which specialises in conflicts within a state, is led by a council of eminent persons, including one from India, Nirmala Deshpande, former Rajya Sabha member.

An Indian source, however, clarified that there was no agreement for any “third party mediation” as such but if “some do-gooders” come out with “some ideas”, “they can certainly be considered”.

Although the details of the Dutch proposal are not known, Muivah said: “They are also proposing some sort of a federal relationship (between the Nagas and India).”

The Naga leader said the Indian negotiators had failed to come up with any new proposals. All that the Indian negotiators apparently told the Naga delegation was that there was a need to resolve the Naga issue, that if need be the solution should be sought in a step-by-step manner and that “all means must be explored to pave the way for a solution”.

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